In my previous blog entry on Gmail, I commented that I would probably only use it to quickly find an old email, as IMAP server that I am currently using does not provide such capability (hint: an open-source IMAP extension that can perform indexing and full-text search would make my day). Another medium that I frequently used for communication is instant messages - be that MSN, ICQ or Yahoo. Most of them would keep a client-side message history where you can search through your old chat sessions. Personally I found it is very helpful, as I usually get lots of to-do's, URL's, meaningful conversations, etc from IM. However, client-side message history implementation can also be frustrating.
- Whenever you reformat your hard drive (which can be frequent due to the inability of your operating system of choice to keep it stable), all your history is lost.
- Changing to an alternative client of the same protocol does not automatically migrate all the client history.
- Using a different computer accessing the same IM network under the same account cannot access the message history on another computer.
I guess point 3 is especially annoying me, as I constantly change to different computers at home and at work. Sometimes I remembered that I've received a particular message from a friend, but I just cannot remember on which computer did I received it. Or possibly, it is in the message history of another compatible IM client on the same computer! That drives me nuts sometimes.
Only if Jabber ever implements server-side message history with full-text search in their open sourced Jabber server, I would definitely switch over!
... not that I am not using Jabber at the moment. Been running a Jabber server of my own for 3 years and it has consolidated all my rosters under different IM networks. But I still need it to consolidate all my message histories on the server side.
Updated: Just installed Bandersnatch on my own Jabber server, and it logs all messages to a MySQL database, which I can then use the full-text search to find the info I need. Quite neat.
Unfortunately, when I tried to move the contacts around I accidentally remove subscription to many my ICQ and MSN contacts. Even though the roster said that I am subscribed to them but the presence would not update when people come online/off-line. Doh. I'll try to manually re-subscribe all of them again...